Even though they say crime doesn’t pay, several rich gangsters prove otherwise. While most end up dead or in jail, a very lucky few get to spend their money. In the early part of the 20th Century, gangsters made a lot of money selling liquor during prohibition. In the seventies many gangsters made a killing off heroin. Nowadays, the richest gangsters make their money from importing cocaine from Colombia through Mexico and into the U.S. While it is hard to determine the exact wealth of these masterminds, here are the 10 richest gangsters of all time:
10. Frank Lucas
Frank Lucas capitalized off the heroin trade in the 1960s and 1970s by using an East Asian connection during the Vietnam war, cutting off the Italian mafia who controlled the trade in his Harlem at the time. Lucas, originally from North Carolina, employed members of his family to take over the heroin trade in New York and New Jersey. Lucas would claim to have sold one million dollars worth of heroin a day in his prime and claimed to have a net worth of over $52 million on top of a large supply of liquid assets, namely heroin.
9. Griselda Blanco
Griselda Blanco, also known as the Black Widow or The Cocaine Queen Of Miami, was a drug lord for the Colombian Medellin cartel. She controlled the cocaine trade through violence and intimidation making $80 million a month during the ’70s and ’80s. Reports claim that at her peak Griselda Blanco had more than a half a billion dollars. After serving 10 years in jail on drug charges, Blanco would return to her native Colombia.
8. Al Capone
Al Capone is perhaps the most notorious gangster of all time, and also one of the richest. During prohibition, Capone controlled the illegal alcohol, prostitution and gambling rackets in Chicago which brought in $100 million a year at its prime. Capone’s money allowed him to bribe police officials, judges and even the Mayor of Chicago. Unfortunately, he could not bribe the IRS who convicted him of tax evasion in 1932 and sentenced him to 11 years in prison.